Apparently, a tablet is as effective as sedatives, according to new research that was presented at the World Congress of Anesthesiologist in Hong Kong. Using the iPad as a distraction can lower the anxiety level prior to surgeries that require general anesthesia. The conducted research involved 54 children being administered orally or rectally and 58 other playing age-appropriate games on iPads 20 minutes before the surgery. The scientists established that both the drug and the tablet equally blunted anxiety.
Two independent psychologists measured children anxiety; the main point of interest during the research, at four time point: 1) during their arrival at the hospital 2) at separation from their parents 3) during induction 4) in the postanesthesia care unit. Parental anxiety was also measured at the same point except for the induction stage since they were not present at that point. Aesthetic nurses ranked from 0 to 10 the quality of induction of anesthesia. Then 30 minutes after children received their nalbuphine anesthetic or 45 minutes after arrival in post anesthesia care, the children were transferred to the ambulatory surgery ward where their anxiety and their parents were again evaluated for the final time. Also parent’s satisfaction with the anesthesia, the procedure was rated 0 to 10.
The scientists established that both parental and child anxiety levels to be similar in both groups, with a similar evolution pattern. Both Nurses and parents found anesthesia more satisfying in the iPad group. Lead researcher Dominique Chassard concluded that the use of iPads or other tablet devices is a non-pharmacological tool that can reduce perioperative stress without any sedative effect in pediatric ambulatory surgery.
In 2006, a similar study though involving handheld video games, established that they served as a useful cognitive distraction for kids before a urgical operation. This latest findings concurs that these affordable, approachable and portable concepts can comfort children before, during and after surgical procedures. The effects can also extend to the child’s caretakers as well.
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